2023 – Central District All Faculty Symposium – Agriculture

M. Bailey, UF/IFAS Extension, Marion County, Ocala, FL

Situation: In 2022 agricultural production costs, particularly fertilizer costs, increased the most on record. The USDA forecasts a decrease in net farm income for 2023 by 18.2%. This creates significant challenges for new farms to begin and existing farms to continue profitably much less expand. The need for profitable high value crops on small acreage has never been more important. Passion fruit is an emerging high value crop. The objective is to help small farms begin, grow, and become profitable with passion fruit production. Methods: Expanding this crop involves: establishing sustainable production methods, grower adoption of the crop, and effective marketing and sales. Two grants were applied for in 2022 with both being awarded. First, a SEEDIT grant and the second a SARE grant totaling $327,941. Both will be used to fund the necessary research to propel passion fruit as a profitable alternative crop. Growers are directly supported with recurring site visits, diagnostic service, step-by-step guidance, and two EDIS publications on the subject. A production meeting in Citra, FL was attended by (n=36) current and prospective growers to share the latest information and encourage two-way communication between IFAS and the growers. Results: Small farms (n=11) in North Central Florida have planted passion fruit on small acreage, averaging ¼ acre, in 2022. Additional small farms are in the process of establishing passion fruit. Small farms that planted in 2022 are beginning to produce an initial crop and those that planted in 2020 have achieved profitability. A post program evaluation indicated (n=8) 100% of participants gained knowledge and intended to implement one or more aspects of the program. Conclusion: Passion fruit is an emerging alternative crop that has significant growth potential to generate profitability for regional farms, at any size, and benefit consumers with high quality Florida Grown passion fruit. 


Posted: April 15, 2023

Category: Agribusiness, AGRICULTURE, Crops, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: 2023, 2023 Central District All Faculty Symposium, Agriculture, Central District Symposium, Extension, IFAS, IFAS Extension, M. Bailey, Marion County, Mark Bailey, Ocala, PASSION FRUIT, Production

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